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HSE to recognise climate action ‘failure’ as risk

By David Lynch - 05th Apr 2022

The HSE is set to officially recognise “climate action failure and sustainability” as risks to the health service, the Medical Independent (MI) has learned. 

The annual strategic assessment of the HSE’s corporate risks is currently underway and “the revised corporate risk register is going through the HSE’s internal approval process,” a HSE spokesperson said. 

“It is expected the revised register will include a risk related to climate action failure and sustainability.” 

In March 2021, MI reported that a number of “new risks” had been considered as possible additions to the HSE corporate risk register (CRR) and these included the impact of climate change. 

The Executive’s comments this month is the first confirmation that climate issues will feature in the CRR. 

The most recent edition of the CRR provided to MI is the 2021 third quarter version approved by the executive management team in October 2021. This has 27 risks in total, with 17 categorised as ‘red’ and a further 10 categorised as ‘orange’. 

MI reported in November that the Department of Health had formed a climate change oversight group. “It is expected that the group will meet in plenary two-to-three times a year, while providing a forum for regular bilateral engagement and the sharing of climate-related information and developments,” a Department spokesperson told this newspaper in December. 

Earlier this month, MI reported that there had been an almost 42 per cent increase in risk waste in the Irish public health service during the pandemic. 

In response to that article, the Irish Doctors for the Environment group said: “Healthcare as a sector is responsible for an enormous amount of emissions, we really have to prioritise getting our house in order as the negative health consequences of the climate and biodiversity crises mount.” 

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